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Tips for Selecting Stew Meat

In every cookbook I’ve ever read, the meat of choice for stewing is chuck or rump. Although both are certainly good and flavorful cuts, I find it hard to get a meltingly tender result with them. Here are the cuts I like best:

For Beef

I like flanken (short ribs) or the large end of a brisket.

For Lamb

I think that the shank has a great flavor. When I don’t want the bone I prefer to use 2- to 3-inch cubes of shoulder.

For Veal

I like the shoulder as well as the so-called “osso buco” cut (shanks sawed into 2-inch slices).

For Pork

I use the butt to get a chunky stew and I love to braise big country-style ribs. (In summer I finish cooking the ribs on the grill.) For a really big taste, stew smoked pork hocks—or try asking your butcher for pig tails, ears and snouts. We get squeals of horror from our daughter, but, boy, are they delicious with spicy black beans.

Published January 1997


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